tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 21, 2014 1:57am-4:01am EDT
in the big ten conference, including student death, admission policies and campus safety, this interview with indiana university president michael mcrobbie is 45 minutes. >> this morning, the c-span bus is on the campus of indiana university in bloomington. on it, we are joined by the president of indiana university, michael mcrobbie. thank you very joining us. >> delighted to be here and welcome to indiana university. >> thank you for the invitation. can we start, president, with your general thoughts before we talk about the details of your university, but your thoughts on the greatest challenges facing those in higher education today? >> oh, i would say that probably the greatest challenge in front of us is to continue to provide a quality and affordable
education, especially to the students within the state of indiana. we are a state university, after all. and keeping that education both affordable but also ensuring its quality so that our students are graduating with very high level skills that will enable them to prosper in the workplace, i think is one of the greatest challenges. of course that involves a whole range of factors to do with the sources of funding for an institution with a budget of $3.3 billion. >> so what steps do you think have to take place in order to balance that affordability with quality? >> well, i think one of the key
things that we are doing in terms of affordability is we have really focussed in lazer-like in the last couple of ars on the whole issue of student debt. you're probably aware that this has got -- i'm sure you're aware that this has got enormous and appropriate national attention. and it has been a concern of ours. and so, last year we introduced a comprehensive financial literacy program that involves things like modules that all entering freshman have to complete on financial literacy, courses on financial literacy for a variety of administrative matters that gives students much better control and knowledge of their student debt. and what is remarkable about this is that we saw 11% drop in the amount of debt that students took on this year. and that amounted to $31
million. and what i think is remarkable about that is that if you multiplied that across all the institutions of higher education in the country and there are 4,500 of those, if you multiplied that, you could see how one could have an enormous impact on the amount of the student debt that students are taking on. of course, debt is a critical opponent of affordability. can one actually find the resources to fund an education. so that has been a really major program that we have been focussing on, aimed at affordability of an ininn university education. >> so on the larger aspect, president mcrobbie, if college was worth it, if they asked you that, how would you answer? >> well, i don't think there's any doubt that college is worth it.
study after study after study shows that your prospects in the workplace in general are better with a college degree than without a college degree. now, it certainly is the case that there is a growing emphasis on the kinds of skills that students are graduating with. and we have put in place -- in fact, i announced this last year that i asked all of our schools to comprehensively evaluate opportunities for creative degrees of certificates, associates qualifications, masters degree and so on. and just last week we announced a new program between our very highly ranked school of business and a college of arts and sciences that will provide an accelerated bachelor plus masters degree that will provide a bachelor's degree in a field like economics, mathematics and so on and one-year masters degree in business. so that's an accelerated process and that one-year masters degree
can be completely completed online. so you can see how students in a number of different fields can graduate, go into the workplace and then complete another masters -- complete a masters degree online in obviously a very practical applied area of business, which is a skill that is always going to be sellable and marketing by our students. so we're looking at initiatives like that across the board. we have a program already that provides certificate of business on top of writing different bachelors degrees as well. and we are very mindful and i think we have a responsibility
to our students to be concerned about their welfare after they graduate. i mean, we simply cannot as an institution complete a student's education and waive them good-bye and not be concerned about what happens to them then. so the programs i've described to you are really focussed in part on responding to the need for greater schools to go along with the classic kind of liberal arts education that we provide at indiana university and we're also mindful of the fact that inspite of the fact that unemployment is still relatively high, though falling, there are by some estimates 2 or 3 million unfilled positions because not enough graduates are graduating with the right kinds of skills. all of that is what we're focussed on. the final part of that is a comprehensive approach across the university to really improve
career consulting, career advising, sorry. we're really focussed on ensuring that all of our students have access to top quality career advising to help to maximize their opportunities to find employment once they graduate. >> c-span bus is doing a big ten college tour. presidents are joining us on the bus to talk about issues of higher education. we're joined by the head of indiana university, michael mcrobbie. and he's here to take questions on the issue of higher education. you may specifically gone to the school or have questions generally on the issue of higher education. here is your chance to talk to him about. students, 202-585-3880. for parents 202-585-3881. perhaps you're an educated at a university, 202-585-3882. about 46,000 students at the indiana university in bloomington. 36,000 of those so are undergraduate. 10,000 undergraduate and faculty and staff of 8,300.
when you talk about cost of college specifically for indiana university, how much of your cost is taken up by employee salaries, staff salaries and facilities? >> oh, personnel salaries are the largest single component of the cost of the university. it would be around 80% of the total cost of the university, personnel related salaries, plus benefits and health care and so on. we are a personnel intensive organization, like most other universities there. so, we are very much focussed on that direct interaction between students and instructors in the classroom. and although i think we're seeing a greater and greater impact of online education, i still don't think there's an
enormous amount of evidence that it's going to completely replace that fundamental student/teacher relationship which has existed for as long as universities have existed which is over 25 centuries. >> the annual budget for the indiana university, 1.4 billion, endowment of $2 million in alumni approximately 370,000 worldwide as far as your annual budget is concerned, you talked about personnel. what about facilities? how much do you have to spend to keep up facilities and add facilities? >> well, this is actually been -- this is my eighth year as president. and this has been a major focus of our board of trustees over this period. like many institutions, i'm afraid we actually had a very large deferred maintenance bill. this is the kind of stuff that's not glamorous. it's the roads and sidewalks, the steam tunnels, et cetera. but there's a rule in business
that every dollar that you don't spend now you're going to have to spend $4 in the future to rectify that. so, we've been putting over the last seven or odd years or so an enormous amount of effort into trying to at that level catch up with the significant burden of deferred maintenance and more recently we've had just excellent support from the state. now, on top of that, we're also looking at renovating major buildings on the campus and bringing them up to the kinds of standards and to provide the kinds of facilities that are required to support the type of research of the 21st century university. over the last seven years, we have constructed or have under construction at the moment or in planning over 50 major facilities. and we have spent about -- this is cost about $1.5 billion.
what's interesting about that is that only 30% of that has come from the state. the other 70% has come from a whole variety of other areas including considerable amount of individual philanthropy. >> 202-585-3880 for students. 202-585-3880 for educators. let's start from ann from dayton, ohio, who is a parent. good morning, ann. >> caller: that's a beautiful campus and beautiful town, bloomington, but i want to talk about my direct experience as a single parent with three daughters and not much economic help with my ex. i have encouraged my three daughters all in their 30s to be excellent students and that that was their job. and they did. and i was middle income. and they qualified for great scholarships at small private schools, my oldest went to ober lin and i only ended up having to pay 4,000 a year there.
and then the other one got into loyola, they all got into small private schools. and what we experienced -- the youngest decided to go to the university of colorado and they didn't give a great package. and we found out that after her first year, you know, and we went into debt for that first year, that we ran into a lot of extremely wealthy kids who were lying about being in-state status at a large school and then getting instate pay, which she did get after jumping through all the hoops of living in states after her freshman year for a year. so, do you have that same kind of thing where wealthy kids are claiming to be in state, actually getting money from parents, which happened at the university of colorado big time. so talk about small schools and giving, i believe, better scholarships and big funding than large state schools and i
hope c-span goes and visits some of the small, private schools. so if you could address that issue, thanks. >> ann, thank you. president mcrobbie, go ahead. >> yes. firstly, let me say that we take very seriously and are acquired to by the state the distinction between in-state students and out of state students and we have pretty rigorous requirements for what the requirements are for a student to be regarded as an in-state rate. we have committees that deal with appeals and requests to be considered as in-state on a regular basis. but they are very hard-nosed about what the criteria are and we sort of pride ourselves on applying them consistently across the whole university all campuses. now, with respect to financial
aid and scholarships and so on that you were talking about, i mean, we're a very large university. we have on this campus over 46,000 students. but -- and 36,000 undergraduates, but we also pride ourselves on the fact that the students with average family -- in-state students with average family incomes of 50,000, they pay almost no tuition because the combination of state, federal and university based financial aid pretty much covers the total cost of their tuition. then students of family incomes of 100,000 or less, they pay somewhere in the vicinity of about half the total cost of tuition again because of all the different sources of financial aid that are available to them. in fact, at iu on this campus, about two thirds of our students get some form of financial aid. it was a major focus of our last two campaigns.
it will be a major focus of our upcoming campaign. in our last campaign for our bloomington campus, we raised over $200 million. if you include graduate scholarships probably close to $300 million in support of scholarships, fellowships and so on for undergraduate students of both need and ability to come to indiana university bloomington. >> so president mcrobbie, what qualifications do you look at in accepting potential students? >> oh, firstly we look at obviously the kind of things that all institutions do, sats or acts, their gpa at school, class ranking, what other extracurricular activities that they have engaged in. but we also use what we call holistic evaluation. that is, on the whole, most students a decision is relatively easy to make, yes or no.
there's still a significant number of students who fall somewhere in the middle where you want to actually take into account everything about that student, maybe their gpa is not that great but if you look at their gpa, it started low in their freshman year at high school but by the time they got to their senior year it improved so there's clearly some sign of maturity or maybe an extracurricular activities they've been major leaders or innovators at their high school. so we want to take all of that into account and as a large state public institution that we really are doing all that we can to identity and find those students who we think will prosper at indiana university. >> what about students who may need some remedial help once they enter the university, what kind of assistance are they offered? >> well, in indiana, as a state,
most of the remediation is actually carried out by a community college system. so, we actually on this campus provide very little remediation anymore and that is actually provided externally. and we find that our students on the whole arrive pretty well qualified for the courses of study that they are intending to undertake. and if they need remediation, they take that in one of the community college campuses of which there are in excess of 20 around the state. >> how many of your students are taking humanities classes or social science majors versus professional and technical majors, what's the breakdown? >> i don't have the exact figure in my head, pedro, but i think in our college of arts and sciences probably something like a third of the students there
are taking courses in the humanities and social sciences. we actually are a university that is very strong in the humanities and in the social sciences with some very highly ranked departments in those areas. and i showed this is probably an opportunity to add to that that languages has been an area that we've been particularly strong on. we teach in any one year we teach somewhere between 70 and 80 different foreign languages which is probably makes us in terms of the number of languages toward one of the top institutions in the country. there are a few other universities that teach that many foreign languages. we teach foreign languages in just about every part of the world, the commonly taught ones but also a lot of the less commonly taught ones as well. we also teach the culture and politics, economics, history and so far, we have series of title 6 centers that cover the whole
of the world as well. but we decided that we needed to bring all that together to try to increase the kinds of educational opportunities that we provide for our students. so, now about two years ago, our board of trustees approved the formation of a new school of global and international studies. and your colleagues will no doubt see the very large building that we're building at the moment that will house the whole of that new school. and that school will house language programs in about 70 to 80 foreign languages and all the associated programs in this culture of those particular culture, history, economics, et cetera. those particular regions of country. and we appointed a new dean of foundation dean for the school last year. and he's just commenced his position here. he's a former u.s. ambassador to poland and has worked in the
white house and elsewhere in washington. so, our goal frankly in that area is really to become one of the top international study schools in the midwest. consequently provide not only specialists qualifications in international studies but to expand and enhance the kinds of majors that we can provide to our students, because in my view, it's certainly been a priority of mine and the university and our trustees, one of the most important things that we have to provide as a university is international literacy. a parent, hello. >> caller: hi, how are you doing? my question is regarding the endowment. you see the endowment at 800 plus million dollars. what is it used for? my second question, i see a lot
of date rape and alcohol use on campus? what is the university doing about that? i'll take it offline. thanks. >> let me deal with the second part of your question first. there is nothing more important to us as a university than the welfare of our students. i mean, we are obviously deeply concerned about the welfare of all of our students. so, earlier this year we announced a student welfare initiative, which is a comprehensive approach to problems of sexual violence and the other kinds of issues that you have raised across the institution that is actually managed and administrated at the very highest level in the institution. two vice presidents co-chair an
executive council that is actually responsibility for both the comprehensive evaluation of our present policies, their improvement and the implementation policies in this area. one of the things we're most proud of on this campus the bloomington campus on the university of indiana, is the fact that our students were not just sitting around waiting for the administration to do more to address these issues and so on. our students a number of years ago formed an initiative called cultural care, which is a student-led initiative that is completely run, managed and initiated by our students which is focussed on students helping students bystander intervention, bystander awareness and so on and as well. this is something that i have nothing but praise for the work of our students to put this program in place. and it has had a significant impact. and i know it's been widely praised and looked at by other
institutions. now, returning to the first part of you question, the total endowment of the university is across all campuses is $1.8 billion. i should note that we're very proud of this. this pails compares to harvard who has a total endowment of $35 billion. but the $1.8 billion endowment that we have goes to a variety of different purposes and those are defined by the donors. for example, i'm a donor to the institution. my wife and i support four different graduate fellowships there and those graduate fellowships are defined by a formal legal agreement between me and our university foundation that's responsible for this and that's true of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of other people.
although it sounds like a large amount of money, the great bulk of it is all identified for specific purposes. undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, endowed professor ships. funding to support research programming and the very schools within the university and some of it to support the building and construction of new infrastructure. >> our guests joining us on the c-span bus as it continues to visit big ten schools, michael mcrobbie, the president of indiana university, a native of australia and how did you end up the president? >> how did you know i was a native of australia? i was recruited here -- i'm a computer scientist by background. i was recruited here now over 18 years ago and i came here as a vice president for information technology and computer
scientist and i then became vice president for research and provost and i was appointed president. i never expected when i moved here that i would end up president of the university but i'm very honored and delighted to be in this position. and i must say, as much as i enjoy visiting my home country, i'm an american citizen now. i never regretted the move for one nano-second. this is home. indiana, bloomington, wonderful place. indiana university is a fabulous university. and i enjoy every minute of my life here. >> let's hear from lauren from pennsylvania, an educators, hi, lawrence. >> caller: hi. president mcrobbie, i would like to get into your general education program. and i would like to know kind of
a followup to an earlier comment on what kind of humanities, philosophy, history, english a student -- well, all students are likely to get in those important first two years of college. thank you very much. >> yes. we have a general education program that with some variations applies all cross all of the campuses across the university, all seven campuses on the university. on this campus in particular, bearing in mind it's a large campus with many different courses, many areas, in summary, students are expected to have done a series of consecutive courses in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, and also to have done a number of years of a foreign language. and this was put in place by our faculty through their initiative now about eight or nine years ago.
and has recently commenced and it is a program and the general concept of general education is something that has my complete support. it is, to me, one of the real fundamentals of american higher education, that is what's called liberal education. so you get an education in both brit of the different areas of human knowledge but you also get an education in certain areas the areas which you major or minor, you get an education in some depth. and that model, the american model of liberal education, is frankly the best in the world. and i speak of somebody who comes from another part of the world and seen a lot of other systems around the world, it is one of the most envied things about the united states is the quality of education, the liberal education that you get at an american university.
i'll give you another example. i was in china now maybe five years ago meeting with some chinese university presidents and they told me, you know, we have studied your system of education and we have poured money into higher education in china and we're still not getting the right kind of graduate who is so creative and innovative as the kinds of graduates that come out of american universities and we've studied your system and we believe that the key thing that we're missing is the system of liberal education that you have in the united states. and so you'll now see that some of the major chinese universities are developing that kind of an approach because of what they see as the enormous success that this system has had in the united states. >> 202-585-3880 for students. for parents 202-585-3881 for educators, 202-585-3882.
>> i'm sure you've heard the argument that you should go to college, get an education that will guarantee you a job. >> well, i would go back pedro, to what i said before about the fact that we're certainly aware of that concern. and as i indicated and gave an example of a major new initiative in the university that we just recently announced which provides both a bachelor's degree of the classic kind that i was just describing with a one-year masters degree in business and provides it on an accelerated basis, normally that would take six years or so and we provide this in five years and also provide the opportunity for that last year to be online.
and that's in direct response to that concern, which i think in some cases is a legitimate one. as i also said, we are -- have already looked at and are looking at expanding that across all of our schools. so, for example, our school of mathematics and computing is in the process of developing this same kinds of accelerated bachelors degrees plus masters degrees and so on that provides somebody with a qualification in inframatics and computing on top of a bachelor's degree of a more classic kind. we're very much aware of that, as i said. but we think that there are enormous benefits of the classic liberal education, the kind i was just describing, but then when coupled with an additional qualification, business and so on really well positions and well qualifies a student to be successful in the workplace. >> what competition does the university get from for-profit universities? >> i don't see very much
competition at all, frankly, from for profits. very little. i think our major competition is from the rest of the big ten. all my colleagues you're visiting around the midwest. we all compete among ourselves in general and very healthy way for the best students and the best faculty. i mean, the universities you're visiting are in some ways i think one of the real unharolded strengths of this country. people may think more of the west coast than the east coast, but the big ten universities that you're visiting of which of course there are now 14, but the big ten universities that you are visiting, collectively, do an enormous percentage of all of the research, enormous percentage of the graduate students, ph.d. students in the
united states, something of which in the big ten we're very proud. >> what do you think of the quality of for-profit universities? >> sorry. could you say that again? >> what do you think of the quality of for-profit universities? >> oh. i would leave that to others. but obviously there's been quite a bit of controversy about that question, but i think the key thing as i said is we see -- we see -- for-profit, you're obviously not talking private institutions which are not for profits but different to a public university, but we see very little competition from them. >> lou from virginia beach, he's the parent, hi. >> caller: hi, how are you doing? >> go ahead. >> caller: yeah, i'm trying to ask a question about, he explained it, mr. mcrobbie
explained got being a liberal education, how does he mean liberal? what does he mean by liberal? hopefully it's basically in english, okay? and that basically, he's teaching the foreign languages for basically understanding, but not teaching in the foreign languages. >> we'll let our guest respond. >> yes, i quite often have to say that when i talk about a liberal education, i do not mean in the political sense, i mean in the classic sense of both breadth and depth of education, and that does involve, as i said, in response to one of the other questioners, to be able the have done courses in indicative areas of the great
breadth of the humanities and biological sciences, the mathematical sciences and the languages. >> the question about academics from twitter, saying a viewer asking, should college athletes be paid something beyond scholarships bringing in millions to the university budget. >> oh, i think that this is an area where we really have responded vigorously and i would like to think that we have become a national leader, we, earlier this year, we announced our student athlete bill of rights and there are some fundamental things in that student athlete bill of rights, initially we will cover the full cost of attendance for our student athletes so everything
involved in their education is covered through the kind of scholarships we provide. and ion more importantly, we are now going to provide full four-year scholarships, so a student athlete comes to iu and starts, and even for performance reasons or other reasons they are no longer competing in athletics, we will guarantee them a scholarship for the full four years. so that completely removes any worries about the future of their education. and on top of that, we're also mindful for reasons that are family related, sometimes other reasons, the student may leave before they graduate, we will guarantee that at some point in the future, that that student, we will cover the remaining cost of that student assuming they're still in good economic standing. a student comes to iu, he or she
has been a -- they don't finish their degree, they break their leg achkd they can never play again, what are they left with? probably very little. we will guarantee the cost of their education at indiana university to finish their degree to kind of re-establish themselves in another area of study. there are ten major components to it. but it's very much focused on really comp hence sif approach to improving all aspects of our engagement with stuchbdent athls at the university. >> what do you see as the future of universities, not just yours, but universities as a whole. what do they think as the future continues? >> well, i have a particular
interest in the histors of universities and i am often fochb of saying that universities are the longest lived human institutions on the face of this planet. from's a university in china that's claimed to have been founded in with 1483. so universities really have the seeds of being very long lived within them. now that doesn't mean that there aren't fundamental changes in terms of them already being here. as i said, i'm an information technologi technologist, i have seen the impact of technology and education for the last 48 years
of my career. and information technology is having a major affect. but it has had a major affect for the last 40 years. and to me that effect is more incremental. and i do think it's going to keep changing, the chairman of our board keep saying and i think he's quite right, that all of our administrators should wake up a little scared every day about where these changes might go. first of all what we're seeing is incremental as opposed to constant change compared to a complete paradime change within the information. >> one thing you would say universities have to do to stay competitive, what would that be? well, i think, clearly, where we started the interview, they have to remain affordable.
i give an example of that, the fact that we last year had our lowest ever or at least in 40 years tuition increase and we're very much focused on keeping an iu education affordable. but i think the other thing is, we also at the same time have to be able to compete for the very best intellectual talent out there, and if by universities, you mean american universities, it is a white hot competition for the very best intellectual talent out there. we compete now, i have seen this happen in recent years, very good faculty from asia, from europe, who probably would not have considered going back to their home countries ten years ago, who have returned to their home countries because they have simply got better offers there. and that's -- and it is the very best faculty, doing the very
best research and the great teachers, the great -- it's these people who are really fundamental to our institution in both retaining and recruiting, and to us to indiana university is just a critical part of what we do. >> before we go, let's hear from kathy, indiana residents, we're just about to go to the house kathy, so if you can jump right in with your question, go ahead. >> caller: yes, sir, i'm a co-signer for all my daughter's student loans, and it's actually crippling to our family what's happening to us. i have been served seven times from the sheriff's office because we have been late on our loans. what can be done about this? we find out about the scholarships, we did everything that was supposed to be done, and when it was time to go to college it all fell through, now her american drem is not -- she will never be able to get
married, buy a home, we are so far in debt, the job she has no, has nothing to do with her degree, the economy tanked achkd we're just --- >> i think the kind of story you tell, is, i'm afraid, all too common and we are very much focused on trying to reduce that kind of problem in the future. and that was, i think earlier in the interview, what i described was a comprehensive approach to financial literacy at indiana university and an approach that both educates students in personal financial management, it actually educates them in the consequences of taking loans, it helps to educate them in understanding what they really need money for, as opposed to
just being given, what's the equivalent of a credit card with a big limit on it. and we certainly anecdotally are aware of the fact that a lot of students are getting loans beyond what they need for their education. so getting a handle on and managing student debt, again, is one of the most important things that we're doing as an institution, and i think the impact of this, as i indicated before, 11% reduction in the amount of money borrowed by indiana university students last year, a $31 million reduction is at least the beginning of a way to reducing the kinds of problems that you have just described. all of what i described is in place or continue in place, we will enhance on it, we will build on it and so on. and i expect us to see a continued decrease in the amount
of student debt at the university combined with an increasing amount of funding for scholarships, fellowships, student financial aid, coming through things like campaigns in the institution and as i said, it will be a major focus of our next campaign which we'll be announcing shortly. >> when do you meet with the student body, how muoften do yo meet with them directly? >> just last friday, i met with a group of student advisors to the president. we have had this group of student advisors to the president for nearly 100 years. i meet with them on a regular basis, it's one group i meet with, later today, i have lunch with all of the student leaders on this campus, so i'm probably
interacting on a weekly basis with student leadership in some form, i have a number of student interns who work in my office on a variety of different areas, but i should add that we are a very large institution, and we have certain campuses across the state. and with 150,000 students in total for indiana university. so comprehensively keeping in touch with all of them is difficult. but i get a good sense of the field from the student body. and i have to say, that the kind of work that has come out of students, i mentioned the culture of care, the initiative before, the group, the advisory group that i talked about, they provide me with annual reports on a variety of different areas that we agree on and so on, and the call of work that comes from our students is as good as any
work coming out of any faculty. >> i apologize, we'll have to leave this conversation with you, michael mcrobby of indiana university, mr. president, thank you. college athletics will be the topic of a forum tomorrow at the national press club, cspan's live coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. eastern with remarks from olympic committee ceo scott blackman, later in the day, conversations with sports reporters on the money being spent on today's college athletic programs. that will be live at 3:00 p.m. and then a discussion on whether or not student athletes should be compensated, based on the theory that they're employees of the institution they play for. be part of cspan's campaign 2014 coverage, follow us on twitter and like us on facebook to get debate schedules, video
clips of key moments, debate previews from our politics team. cspan is bringing you over 100 senate, house and government debates and you can instantly share your reactions on what they are saying. stay in touch and follow us on fw twitter and like us on facebook. the u.s. currently uses solitary confinement more than any other country, with some prisoners spending up to 24 hours a day in a cell with limited human contact. a senate judiciary subcommittee looked at the use of solitary confinement and one of the witnesses at the hearing including feder. he testified for a little more than an hour.
good afternoon, this hearing will come to order. today's hearing is reassessing solitary confinement, the public safety consequences. in a moment i will make a public statement. and as the subcommittee ranking member for his opening statement. thank you to those who are here in person and those following the hearing on facebook, twitter and using the hash tag solitary. there was so much interest in today's hearing, that we moved to this larger room to accommodate everyone. if someone can't get a seat in the hearing room, we have an overfloe room in 226 dirkson. it you look around the hearing room, you'll ski a number of pictures of children during the course of this hearing who are being held in solitary confinement. i would like to thank richard ross for letting us use those photos. we're addressing solitary
confine mblt around the world. we have an obligation to honestly consider our own human rights record at home. the united states has the highest per capita that rate of incarceration in the world. we have close to 25% of its prisoners. african-american and hispanic americans are incarcerated at much higher rates than whites. and the university holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic nation. these are human rights issues that we cannot ignore. congress has been unable to find common ground on many important issues, but criminal justice reform is one area, where we can show the american people that our government still functions. just a few weeks ago, i'm sorry, we have made some progress, in 2010, congress unanimously passed the fair sentencing act. bipartisan legislation that i
co-authored with senator jeff sessions that greatly -- justify a few weeks ago, the jue judici committee introduced thereform federal drug sentencing and focus law enforcement resources on the most serious offenders. i want to thank my ranking member for cosponsoring that smarter sentencing act as well. i also want to thank senator cruz for his by partisan cooperation on putting this hearing together today. almost two years ago this sub committee held the first ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement. we heard testimony about the dramatic increase in the use of solitary confinement that began in the 1980s. we learned that the vulnerable groups like immigrants, children, sex abuse victims and individuals with serious and persistent mental illness are often held in isolation for long periods of time. we heard about the serious
impact, fiscal impact of solitary confinement. it costs almost three times as much to keep a federal prisoner in segregation than in the general population. and we learned about the human impact of holdsing tens of thousands of men, women and children in small, windowless cells 23 hours a day, for days, for months and for years with very little if any contact with the outside world. this extreme isolation can have serious psychological impacts on an inmate. according to several studies, at least half of all prison suicides occur in solitary confinement. and i'll never forget the testimony in our last hearing of anthony graves, who was held in solitary for ten of his 18 years in prison before he was exonerated. mr. graves told this sub committee and i quote, no one can begin to imagine the psychological effects isolation has on another human being.
solitary confinement does one thing, it breaks a man's will to live. now, i've been chairman of this sub committee for seven years. i cannot remember more compelling testimony. at the last hearing, we heard from director of the bureau of prisons charles samuels who is with us again today. i wasn't particularly happy with the testimony at the last hearing and i think i made that clear to mr. samuels, but u b i want to commend him and his team because they heard the message of the first hearing. at my request, mr. samuels agreed to the first-ever independent assessment of our solitary confinement policy and practice. this assessment is underway and look forward to an update today from mr. samuels who is with us. at our 2012 hearing, we found that the overuse of solitary can present a serious threat to public safety. increasing violation inside and outside prisons. the reality is that the vast majority of prisoners held in isolation will be released someday. the damaging impact of their
time in solitary or their release directly from solitary can make them a danger to themselves and their neighbors. i want to note this is the one year anniversary of the tragic death of federal correctional officer eric williams who was killed by an inmate in a high-security prison in pennsylvania. we owe it to correctional officers who put their lives on the line everyday to do everything we can to protect their safety. make no mistake, that means that some dangerous inmates must be held in segregated housing. but we also learned from states like maine and mississippi which reduced violation in prison by reducing the overuse of solitary confinement. i made a personal visit to a prison closed in illinois called tams. our state maximum security prison. i asked that they take me to the worst of the worse. the most dangerous inmates. they took me to an area with
five prisoners. they happened to be going through some unusual classroom experience while i was there which i never quite understood, but each of the prisoners was in a separate fiberglass unit protected from one another and from the teacher. and i walked to each of them and spoke to them. trying to get an understanding of who they were, why they were and how they perceived their situation. it was much different for each one of them. but there's one in particular that i remember. he looked to be a community college professor. a clean-cut young man. and i asked him, well, how long are you sentenced to prison? he said, originally 20 years. and i said, originally? yes, he said they added another 50 years. and i said, why? he says, because i told them if they put anybody in a cell with me i would kill them and i did. now, that's the reality of prison life in the most extreme circumstance. i know that we want to make certain that those who work in prisons and those who also are
prisoners are safe and we've got to balance that against our concerns about humane treatment of those in solitary confinement. we must address the overcrowding crisis in federal prisons that made it more dangerous. that's one of the reasons i want to pass the smarter sentencing act that will reduce overcrowded by inmates who committed non-violent drug offenses. i want to open a thompson correctional center in my own state. i look forward to working with the bureau of federal prisons to help it alleviate overcrowded and that all prisoners are held humanely. children, according to the justice department, 35% of juveniles in custody report being held in solitary confinement for some time. 35%. the mental health effects of even short periods of isolation
including depression and risk of suicide are heightened among youth. that's why the american academy of child and adolescent sky tri called for a man. we heard about many promising reform efforts at the state level. state governmentings continue to lead the way. let's take a few examples. last year my own state of illinois closed the tams correctional center. relocating the remaining prisoners to other facilities. in the ranking member's home state of texas, they passed legislation requiring a independent commission to conduct the comprehensive review use of solitary confinement in state prisons and jails. new york is just announced sweeping reforms that will greatly limit the use of solitary confinement for juveniles and pregnant woman. there have been other positive developments. u.s. immigration and customs enforcement limiting the use of
solitary confinement for immigration detain knees. this is a positive step for some of the most vulnerable individuals in detention. i want to thank ice for this effort. the american psychiatric statement issued a policy statement opposing the pro-longed isolation of individuals with serious mental illness. more must be done. that's why today i'm calling for all federal and state facilities to end the use of the solitary con confinement for pregnant women, juveniles, and mental illness except in the rarest of circumstances. by reforming our solitary confinement practices, the united states can protect human rights, improve public safety and be fiscally responsible. it's the right and smart thing to do and the american people deserve no less. senator cruz has not arrived yet, so i'm trying to turn to our first witness. as i mentioned earlier, senator cruz and i agreed on a bipartisan basis on all of today's witnesses. i want to note that i invited
the justice department, civil rights to participate in today's hearing but they declined. we will follow up with them to make them aware of our hearing and to ensure they are enforcing the federal civil rights laws that protect prisoners held in solitary confinement. also, at this time i ask unanimous consent to enter into record the written testimony of kevin lan di without objection it will be included. our first witness today is charles samuels, director of the federal bureau of prisons. you'll have five minutes for an opening statement and your complete written statement will be included in the record. please stand and raise your right hand to be sworn as is the custom of this committee. do you swear or affirm the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god. >> i do. >> let the record reflect that you have answered in the affirmative and please proceed. >> good afternoon, chairman durban and members of the sub
committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the use of restrictive housing. within the bureau prisons, i cannot begin my testimony without acknowledging that today is the anniversary of the death of officer eric williams. officer williams was stabbed to death last year by an inmate while working alone in a housing unit at the united states penitentiary canen in pennsylvania. we will always honor the memory of officer williams and all the courageous bureau staff who lost their lives in the line of duty. these losses underscore the dangers that bureau staff face on a daily basis. our staff face the same as other law enforcement officers throughout the country. we house the worst of the worst offenders to include some state inmates who we house at the state's request. and we do so with fewer staff than most other correctional systems. it is extremely crowded. operating at 32% over capacity
system wide and 51% capacity at our high security institutions. both the high crowding and low staffing levels contribute to the rate of violence in our prisons. last year alone more than 120 staff were seriously assaulted by inmates. most often in our high security institutions. in addition, nearly 200 inmates were seriously assaulted by other inmates. despite these challenges, our staff interact with nearly all inmates in an open setting without weapons and physical barriers. it is not uncommon for one staff member to be on the recreation yard with hundreds of inmates who are engaged in various activities. our staff encourage inmates to take advantage of their time in prison to improve their lives by participating in programs suches a education, job training, drug treatment, and other available programs. since the hearing held by this sub committee in june, 2012, i have focussed attention and resources on our use of
restrictive housing. we have accomplished a great deal over the past 18s in terms of reviewing, assessing our approach to restrictive housing. we understand the various negative consequences that can result. such placement can interfere with re-entry program and limit interactions with friends and family. however, please note the large majority of inmates remain in general population for their entire prison term. in response to concerns you have raised and because it is the right thing to do, we have implement numerous measures. we continue to experience decreases in the number of inmates house in various forms of restrictive housing. this reduction is attributable to a variety of initiatives we have put in place over the past 18 months. we have had several nationwide discussions with wardens and other senior managers about restrictive housing. mental health of inmates, the
discipline process and other related issues. we respect to specialize mental health treatment with respect -- we recently activated a secure mental health unit that provides treatment for maximum custody inmates with serious mental illness whom might otherwise require placement in restrictive housing. we have plans to activate a treatment unit for high security inmates suffering from severe personality disorders that make it difficult to function in our populations. we have activated a re-entry gags unit to help inmates adapt to the general population after an extended stay that was often prompted by their perceived need for protection. in addition, we implemented a gang-free institution that allows inmates to safely leave their gang affiliations to work toward a successful re-entry. we are in the midst of a independent comprehensive review of our use of restrictive housing. they have completed half of the site visits. we expect a report to be issued
by the end of 2014 and we look forward to the results of the evaluation to consider making additional enhancements to our population. i share your commitment to providing federal inmates with safe and secure housing that supports physical and mental health. the mission of the bureau prisons is challenging through the continuous diligent efforts of our staff who collectively work 24 hours each day, 365 days per year, we protect the american public and we reduce crime. again, i thank you chairman durbin and mr. cruz and the sub committee for our support of your agency and i will be pleased to answer any questions you or other members may have. >> thanks, mr. samuels. there's several year and i want to give them all a chance to ask. let me zero on two or three specifics if i can. children are supposed to be treated than adults.
when it comes to solitary confinement, we know children are particularly vulnerable. at our last hearing we heard a devastating story of a young man james stewart who committed suicide after a very brief period in solitary confinement. many have called for a ban on juveniles. nowhere is the damaging impact of incarceration on vulnerable children more obvious than when it involves solitary confinement. i commend the state of new york for its strides in this area. i i don't believe juveniles should be placed in solitary confinement exception under the most exceptional circumstances. i know the federal prison has a very limited of juveniles under your jurisdiction and generally sent to juvenile facilities. what policies and guidance do you have to ensure the juveniles under your jurisdiction are not placed in solitary confinement except in exceptional circumstances where there is no alternative to protect the
safety of staff and other inmates? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i recognize the unique needs of juveniles. in the bureau prisons, we have 62 juveniles who have been sentenced to our custody. these individuals are placed then in contract facilities. and part of our requirement with the agreement that we have with these facilities is to provide 50 hours of various programs. out of the 62 inmates in these contract facilities, we currently only have one individual who is in restrictive housing. and the requirement that we have is that any individual placed in restrictive housing who is a juvenile, there should be 15 minute checks done. we are ensuring that they are also working with the
multi-disciplinary committee to ensure that all of the issues are assessed, addressed and that we are removing the individual out of restrictive housing at the earliest date possible. >> are there any limits to the period of time that a juvenile can be held in restrictive housing under the federal system? >> there's no specific limit. but if an individual is to go beyond five days in restrictive housing, we require that there are discussions held to at least justify why there's a continued need. as i've indicated, right now we only have one individual and it should only be used under the rarest circumstances when there is the belief that there's going to be potential harm to the individual and/or to others. but we do not support long-term placement of any zbluchbl restrictive housing. >> i would like to ask you about the issue of mental health, which i think is directly linked to this whole conversation.
our last hearing, senator lindsey graham asked about the mental health effects and how this practice effects prisoners. you responded that no study had been conducted within the bureau at that time. that troubled me because the federal bureau uses segregation regularly. but it had not been studied as it should be. one of the five key areas of the independent assessment salesmenal health. i would like to ask you basically two questions. do you anticipate that the assessment will help provide bop with a better understanding of the mental health effects of segregation and without getting into some of the specifics, heart breaking gut wrenching stories of what people do to themselves in solitary confinement, do you agree that people who exhibit this type of behavior generally need more mental health treatment and not just a lockdown? >> yes, sir to our first
question. i believe an assessment is being done will provide us a road map to further look at our internal operation relative to mental health treatment that's provided to our inmate population when they're placed in restrictive housing. and as i've indicated since the hearing that was conducted in june of 2012, long before this assessment has been put in place with the audit, we have been internally looking at our operation. and we are very much in agreement with the appropriate number of mental health staff being provided to look at the specific population when individuals are placed in restrictive housing and are suffering from any type of serious psychiatric illness and this is something that we will continue to do. and i can report since the last hearing in particularly with the
concern that was being raised at the adx, we have increased our staffing for psychology services to include assuring that our psychiatrists within the bureau are making visits to the facility. i know that was a concern you had at that time when it was reported that we only had two psychologist responsible for treating that population. >> has that changed? has the number changed? >> yes, sir, it has changed. we currently have five individuals who are devoted to that population. we're in the process of recruiting to hire a full-time psychiatrist there, but in the interim, we are also using tell psychiatry and i have ensured that the chief psychiatrist for the bureau in our head quarters is also visiting the facility as well and there are a lot of things we can do remotely, but we have increasing the staffing and it's something that we will continue to stay on top of. >> has there ever been a time
since you've been in charge when a person has been released directly from restrictive housing to the general population, released from prison? >> yes. and that is also something that from discussion we had in june of 2012 we have discussed extensively throughout the agency with leadership. and i do not believe that it is appropriate. it is something that we will continue to address. no one should be released based on the concern that was raised directly from restrictive housing into the general population. and we will do everything possible to ensure that we have procedures in place. one of the things that we've done, sir, is we have implemented a step down unit. and definitely for those individuals who are suffering from a significant mental illness that we don't have those individuals going out without some form of treatment and assuring that there's a
transition period. >> the last question i'll ask relates to testimony. we have some excellent witnesses coming at the later panel. testimony about women, particularly pregnant women who are placed in restrictive housing in solitary confinement. what have you found and what are your policies when it comes to these prisoners? >> with the femalelati populatii can definitely tell you out of 1408 female offenders we have in our system, right now only 197 are in restrictive housing, which is like 1.4%. and if an individual requires placement, again, under the rarest circumstances, either tone sure that there's no threat to themselves and to others, we're not looking to place individuals in restrictive housing. and i would also add for the record that individuals who are placed in restrictive housing, the majority of the time is for temporary, temporary period. these are not individuals who are placed in for a long period
of time. >> could you define those two terms, temporary and long period from your point of view? >> if an individual right now out of our entire population for individuals who are in restrictive housing -- i will start with our special housing unit. we have approximately 9,400 individuals who are in restrictive housing. only 15% of those individuals are in there for periods longer than 90 days. that would be based on sanctions relative to discipline and/or administrative detention, which when you look at the two categories, discipline is a sanction imposed for violating a rule, which we definitely need to maintain order within a facility if individuals do things that warrant them being placed in restrictive housing, which that's temporary. and for individuals who require long-term placement within restrictive housing which we can look at individuals for various
reasons due to threat, to the facility, harm to others, and ensuring that we're doing our best to keep the individuals safe, that sometimes require longer periods of incarceration. specifically when you look at the control unit where we have in that population a significant number of individuals, 47% to be exact out of the 413 inmates who are at the adx, 47% have killed other individuals and that is a combination of them murdering individuals before they have come into the system and they have either murdered other inmates and/or staff within the system. those individuals require longer periods of placement in restrictive housing. however, for those individuals i am not saying -- and i would never advocate in any way that we are saying we are giving up on those individuals, this is where the intensive treatment and ensuring that those
individuals are being given adequate time out of their cells for recreational time and other things that we deem appropriate to ensure that when those individuals needed to be pulled out that the assessments by our psychology staff, psychiatrists that we're taking all that into consideration. and i am 100% behind ensuring that we're not causing anymore damage to an individual who is placed in that setting, but i have to state that to ensure the safety of other inmates, to ensure the safety of our staff, these are individuals that only represent, sir, a small number within our entire population. it is less than one fifth of a percent when you look at the 215 thousands inmates in our agency, the number is very, very small. even when you look at the discipline for as large as our population is, you're only talking about 1,500 inmates out
of a population of 215,000. so it's a very small number. we will continue to reduce the number as best we can. and i am committed that in our population it is better for us to manage inmates in general population. it's better for everyone because those individuals need to have the opportunity to participate in programming and when we're looking at recidivism reduction, we want them to receive all the intensive programs that we can provide. and when the inmates are not being given those opportunities, you are looking at the issue and concern relative to threat to public safety. and we do not want to be a part of anything that causes us not being able to carry out the mission. that is one of the most important things that we're responsible for the bureau of
prisons. >> thank you very much. senator chris? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for holding this hearing. i think everyone here shares the number of common objectives wanting to ensure that all federal prisoners are held in a humane manner, that respect is their inherent dignity as human beings and at the same time upholds the objectives of sound penological policy both allowing an opportunity for rehabilitation when possible and ensuring to the maximum extent possible the safety of other inmates and of prison guards entrusted to guard sometimes some of the most dangerous people in the country, if not the world. mr. samuels, i appreciate your service and your being here today and engaging in this important discussion. and i would like to ask some questions to further understand
your testimony and the scope of solitary confinement within the federal prison system. you testified that roughly 215,000 inmates in the federal system and that compares to about 1.2 million encars rated in various state systems. and am i correct that the overwhelming majority of the 215,000 in the federal system are in the general population at any given time? >> yes, sir. the majority of the inmates are in general population. also, the majority of the inmates in our system spend their entire period of incarceration in general population. we're only talking about a very, very small percentage. right now, 6.5% out of our entire population is in some form of restrictive housing. when you break that number down, as i've mentioned, administrative detention, which is temporary and also with the disciplinary segregation,
they're given a set number of days and/or months that they have to serve. in a prison environment -- and i would hope that everyone understands -- it's all about order. and if we do not have order, we cannot provide programs. we're constantly locking down our institutions. since the hearing in 2012, we have reduced our restrictive housing population by over 25%. within the last year, we have gone from 13.5% to 6.5%. so the reductions are occurring. we are only interested in placing individuals in restrictive housing when there is a legitimate reason and justification. with our system being so large, we have over 20,000 gang members in our system.
they are watching this hearing. they're watching our testimony very, very closely for the reason being if they see that we will lower our standards, we will not hold individuals accountable, it puts our staff at risk, it puts other inmates at risk and this is why i mentioned in my oral statement, that not only are we looking at staff being injured and harmed, our staff are putting their lives on the line every single second of this day to protect the american public. but we're also having inmates within the population who are being harmed by these individuals who have no respect -- i mean, no respect for others when it comes to their safety. we cannot afford at any time to say that for those individuals who assault staff, assault inmates there's no accountability. this is no different than in society. if individuals violate the laws
and they hurt citizens, they are removed from society and either placed in a jail and/or prison. if these individuals attack police officers, they are removed. they're not given second chances where we say do not do it again. my staff, as i've indicated who are putting their lives on the line every single day, they have to know that there is accountability for the actions of others. now, for treatment and working with those individuals, we are going to continue to do that. that's our mission. 95% of the individuals within the bureau of prisons at some point will be released. we have a duty, we have an obligation to do everything, sir, to ensure that for that captured population, we are working to change their behavior. many of these individuals come in with significant issues. we have to address those issues
and we will continue to do it. i also believe that it's very, very important for this sub committee to know, when you look at the care levels for mental health, we have approximately 94% of the inmates within our system who have no mental illne illness, 94%. that's 187,264 inmates. we have the care levels one, two, three and four. when you take it to level two, you're talking about 10,809 individuals who have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness that would require on average our mental health staff engaging with these individuals once a month. when you go even further, for care level three, we have 555 inmates who would require intensive interaction and treatment. to the concerns that were raised
earlier, we need to make sure that we are -- these individuals are receiving access, that there is quality time with the mental health providers, and for the most serious cases we have in the bureau, out of our entire population, 286 individuals are diagnosed with an acute mental illness. same thing for that population. but i think everyone needs to know that for our entire population, the majority of these inmates do not suffer from a significant mental illness. and they are programming. they are in our institutions doing the right thing and not causing us problems. but it's that very, very small number who will do anything, i mean, anything to hurt others. i've been in the bureau of prisons now going on 26 years. i have talked to inmates -- i have had inmates tell me, if you
release me to the general population, and/or if you take me out, i will kill someone. i have a duty and an obligation to protect the staff, to protect the inmates. and when someone is willing to tell you, if you do it, this is what i'm going to do, i mean, there are huge issues with that. >> mr. samuels, and i appreciate your decades of service and as someone who spent a significant portion of my adult life in law enforcement, i certainly am grateful as i'm sure is every member of this committee for the service of the many employees of the bureau of prisons 34 of whom risk their lives to protect innocent sit zens everyday and it's not an easy job that you're doing and it's a very important job. i would be interested in the judgment of the bureau of prisons, what is the affirmative value of solitary confinement?
and what circumstances should it be imemployed and what are the hisk r risks and what are the down sides of using it as a tool in our prisons? >> thank you, senator cruz. the value of restrictive housing in the bureau should only be used when absolutely necessary for those individuals who pose a threat to others and the safety and the security of the facility and that's to ensure that we're protecting staff, inmates in the general public. it should never, ever be used as a means of being viewed as we're retaliating against individuals. we're trying to correct the behavior. i strongly support ensuring that we do not use it just for the sake of we can.
and we are not being held accountable, no different than the state systems who are also looking at this issue. and the one thing that i do appreciate with this issue being raised is, this is now a national issue. it is a national discussion. the association of state correctional administrators, which i'm a member of, immediately after the hearing, we all met. we talked about the best practices and what we should be doing. because when you look at state systems, the federal systems and even at the local level, you have many, many, many definitions of what restrictive housing means. and so we are working together. at some point, the association of state correctional administrators will be releasing a survey where they're reaching out nationally to all the 51 jurisdictions to ask everyone, provide us your best practices
and this will be posted on the website. and i know just from the discussions that we have had with -- when i say we, my colleagues the secretaries, commissioners and the directors for state corrections, we are moving in the right direction to define what we believe for our profession is appropriate. we are also looking at the issue regarding cultural issues because you have to understand, where we're moving and where we're headed, we're trying to change a culture and not just within the bureau of prisons, of practices that have been in place for long periods of time. i've gone out at your request, mr. chairman, to visit the states where practices have been in place, to look at what they're attempting to do and what they're doing. and i'm very, very mindful of the concern. and i am the director who firmly
believes in treating inmates respectfully, ensuring that they are living in a humane environment because our actions will dictate to these individuals what our country is all about. and we are not there to judge these individuals. we are there to ensure that they serve their time, they pay their dues to society, and hopefully put them in a better situation so when they're released they are productive sit zens. and the goal of them never returns. so i don't see a downside with with individuals who are not abiding by the rules because if they are not abiding by the rules within the prison, i mean, at some point when they're released, there's no accountability. so we have to hold them accountable because if they go out and they continue with that behavior, guess what, they're coming back. and we will do everything possible to try to get them to
turn and move away from that negative behavior. but it requires intensive treatment. i'm also looking at ensuring that we are developing a cognitive behavioral therapy program for those individuals who are within our restrictive housing unit, so they're not just sitting there. we want there to be active engagement of showing them, hey, we can offer you this but they have to be willing to accept the olive branch. we don't want to just leave individuals sitting there. >> very good. thank you, mr. samuels. >> thank you, senator cruz. senator frankn? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to welcome damion tib doe. mr. tibdo, you've turned yourd tragedy into a story of hope and courage and i want to thank you for sharing it today. i would also like to thank the
chairman for holding this hearing and all the work you've done on this issue over the years. this practice of solitary confinement or restrictive housing is a troubling one for a number of reasons, for moral reasons, economic reasons as the chairman said in his opening statement, for public safety reasons. one of the aspects of this that concerns me is the mental health aspect of the problem as we've been discussing. over the years, we've seen the corrections in law enforcement systems take on more and more responsibility for responding to mental illnesses in our communities. last winter i hosted a series of round table discussions with law enforcement personnel and mental health advocates in my state of minnesota. the sheriff who runs the jails in hen pen county, that's our largest county in minnesota, told me about a third of the
inmates in his jails really belong in mental health treatment programs and not behind bars. and we've been -- you've been talking about treating people behind bars, maybe that's not where they should be treated if it's possible. there are people with mental illness who have committed some crimes that they need to be behind bars, but there are a lot who probably should be elsewhere. i have a bill called the justice and mental health collaboration act that will improve access to mental health treatment to those who need it and i think we're leaving the purposes to relieve some of the burden on law enforcement personnel and on correctional personnel. the bill also funds flexibility and creating alternatives to solitary confinement in our jails and prisons. i would like to thank you senators, durbin, lay hee and
grass and others. i would like to ask others to join that effort. i want to ask you a couple things. one, about crisis intervention training. director samuels, last march i visited the federal medical center in rochester, minnesota. they have -- they're kind of a psychiatric unit and also behind bars. and they said they've benefitted tremendously from cit, crisis intervention training. and they said they've avoided serious injuries and i think incidents that may lead to inmates going into solitary confinement when they act out and become violent. we see these on these weekt shows that show people behind
bars and the guards have to strap on all kinds of protective ware. they said they can avoid that by understanding when and talking someone down instead of, in a way not provoking terrible conflict but also not stopping it. can you talk a bit about the role that c.i.t. or crisis intervention training plays in the federal prison system? >> all right. thank you, senator franken. i'm glad you raised this question. the national institute of corrections which is also part of the bureau of prisons actually provides the training for crisis intervention. and it is based on the requests of state systems. we've ensured that our staff, specifically the bureau psychologists have participated in the training. as a result of what they've seen, we have implemented our own protocols relative to the
training to use various elements. and we have field tested this training in one of our institutions. and as a result of it, we are obtaining a feedback. it's something that we are considering to look at actually adopting within the bureau based on the federal system in our unique needs. so, to your point, it does serve value. we're looking to explore doing more with it within the federal system. >> okay. i kind of want to -- you know, we're -- you've provided a lot of statistics about solitary or about restrictive housing. i just want to get more into the human aspect of this and i kind of want to on the crisis intervention training. how big is a cell? how big is the average cell in
solitary? >> the average size? >> cell, yeah, the size of the cell, how big is it? i'm trying to get this -- this is a human thing we're talking about. we've got a lot of statistics. how big is the cell? >> the average size of a cell is -- i guess i'm -- you're looking for the space of what -- >> yes, the dimensions in feet and inches. the size of the cell that a person is kept in. i want to get some idea of -- i don't know. am i asking this wrong? is what you're saying that there is no such thing as an average cell for solitary? typically in your -- in the
bureau of prisons, if someone is in solitary confinement, how big is the cell typically? >> the average size should be equivalent to 6 by 4. >> okay. that's an answer. 6 by 4. does the person in a cell during months and months of this, do they have the ability to talk to family? >> yes. >> they always do? >> it's not on a frequent basis, but we provide individuals who are in restrictive housing on average -- i mean, they're receiving one phone call per month. and this is something that we are looking at when i talk about reform for our disciplinary
process for those placed in restrictive housing, we need to change. and that is something that we're willing to continue to look at to ensure that we're providing more access for frequency for those phone calls as well as visits. >> well, i've run out of time. we'll have some witnesses who maybe little more discryptive. thank you. >> it's 10 by 7 for the cell size. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator franken. senator romo. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director samuels, thank you for your service and all that you're doing to address what is really a troubling situation. we do have someone on the second panel who will testify or talk about women being confined in solitary for reporting abuse, including sexual abuse by bureau of prison staff. i have a series of questions
regarding this situation. my first question is, are you aware of this happening in the system, rare as it may be, we hope. >> yes. >> second question, then what do you have in place to prevent this kind of abuse from happening? >> well, what we have in place is our staff being active in assuring that rounds are being made. we have also addressed concerns with ensuring that the inmates are able to reach out and to let us know and being comfortable with that. but we have zero tolerance. >> so, you have zero tolerance, so does that mean that the inmates that this is happening to feel free to come forward and report? who would they report this to? certainly it shouldn't be the person that has power over them and who is actually the abuser,
alleged abuser. >> yes. they're able to report any allegations to staff. and we also have a hot line number that the inmates are given. they can also report it in that manner. >> and in terms of getting this information out to your inmates, do you do this in a written form? how do your inmates know, regardless of whether they're in solitary or in the general population, that if they are faced with this kind of abuse that they know what to do, where to go? >> it's provided to the inmate population verbally during discussions as well as in writing. >> mr. chairman, i would -- i think it would be good if he could provide us with a sample or, in fact, the directive regarding what they tell the inmates with regard to this kind of situation so that we can --
>> we can provide that, for the record. >> so in terms of the enforcement of this policy or this directive, how do you go about enforcing and making sure that this is being followed by your staff? >> well, a number of things that we do. at the local level, obviously something that the leadership to include management staff are focussed on ensuring that we're doing quality control reviews. we utilize our national office when we go out and we conduct audits of our facilities, we look at the operating practices and procedures to ensure that we are following the expectations of our policies. >> how long have these policies been in place at the bop? >> these policies have been in place for decades. we've always had a zero tolerance for any type of activity and giving your staff
the guidance to carry it out. >> so when this does happen, what happens to alleged abuser or the violator? >> if -- for the individuals who do this, we quickly take all allegations seriously. those individuals are removed from general population as well as the individuals who have been victimized to ensure that we're looking at the safety and security issues on both sides. and we ensure that the investigation relative to the allegation that we're doing it in a timely manner and holding those individuals accountability. because, as i mentioned, senator, we do not support nor do we want anyone victimizing others. and not being held accountable for their actions. >> and is this kind of behavior considered a crime for which the perpetrator can be prosecuted?
>> yes. and if the investigation leads to the individual being charged, which we refer all of those issues to -- >> and do you have the numbers on how many individuals have been prosecuted or disciplined in some way? let's talk about disciplined and then prosecution. >> i don't have that information with me currently, but i can provide that for the record. >> you have that data? >> yes. >> thank you. have there been any studies on the effects of solitary confinement on recidivism and/or re-entry? >> there have been no studies as a result of the hearing that was conducted in 2012 when that question was presented to me and
we had not participated in any type of study, we agreed to undergo the analysis that is taking place right now with cna. and hopefully from that review, we will have some insight. but, senator, i will have to add, when you're looking at recidivism that will require a long period of time to assess when you're looking at the number of individuals who have since been released and the impact on recidivism. and also, a resource issue for ensuring that if we undertake something like that that that there will be substantial costs, but currently we do not have anything like that in place other than what we're being looked at. >> i recognize that it's not that easy to determine cause and effect in these situations. are you aware of any studies that show differences in the effects of solitary confinement on men and women?
>> no. >> is this aspect going to be addressed in some way in the study that you're referring to? >> the comprehensive study that we're undergoing now, that's not part of the assessment, but i agree with you, it's something that we should continue to look at. but also, as i've stated -- when you look at the gender issues for restrictive housing, the number for us is very, very, very low for the female population. and they are not as likely as the male population to be engaged in behavior that requires them to be placed in restrictive housing for long periods of time. >> if i may, you have 198 women in restrictive housing, how many of them are in the adx facility? >> we do not house any females at the adx nor do we require for the record to have that type of
housing for female inmates, only for males. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> director samuels, thank you very much for your testimony. we appreciate it. we'll follow up with some of the questions that were asked here earlier. >> thank you. >> we now invite the second panel to come before us. and i ask the witnesses to take the place at the witness table. i'm going to read a little background on them before they're called on. rick raehmish is here. three decades of law enforcement experience before this position, he was a secretary of wisconsin department of corrections and he also served as deputy secretary. previously he was a sheriff in wisconsin, served as assistant direct attorney in dane county as well as an undercover deputy sheriff. thank you for being here.
piper kerrman is with us. she is the op offer of the orange is the new black, my year in a woman's prison. account of her 13-month encars ration in. it was recently adapted in a netflix origin series. she works a a communications consultant and serves on the board of women's prison association. she spoken and written about prison issues. she received the 2014 justice trail blazer award from the john j. college center for media crime and justice. thank you for being here. craig deroche. prison fellowship that advocates for criminal justice reform bapsed on principles of restorative found in the bible. he previously sempb adds the organizations vice president. earlier in his career, he served in the michigan house of representatives he was selected senator. i want to thank you you and the
justice fellowship for your appearance here today. mark levin is the director for center for effective justice at the texas public policy foundation which is played an important role in adult and juvenile justice reforms in that state. leader of the texas public policy right on crime initiative, which has led conservative efforts to reform the criminal justice system. he served as law clerk to judge will goorwood on the fifth circuit and staff attorney at the texas supreme court. thanks to the texas public policy foundations work led to reforms of the drug sentencing law and particularly i want to thank you for your support of the smarter sentencing act which all the members here today have co-sponsored. damen tibdo, is witness before us. in late september, he became the nation's 141st death row inmate to be exonerated on actual incense grounds. he was released from the
louisiana state penitentiary after 15 years in solitary confinement. his release was supported by the district attorney's office which was responsible for his original prosecution. following his release, mr. tibdo relocated to minneapolis who reobtained az gad and commercial driver's license. january 2014, he began his truck driving career. i'm sorry for what you've been through, sir. i commend you for what you've done to rebuild your life. it's an amazing story. i want to thank you for having the courage to appear here today and we'll be hearing your testimony in just a few moments. you have five minutes. your entire written -- i've read them all and commend them to those who are here. these are some extraordinary statements. five minutes to summarize, if you would and then we'll ask a few questions after the whole panel. >> thank you, mr. chair, ranking member cruz and distinguished members of this committee. it's an absolute honor for me to
be here. i'm rick raemisch. i was appointed by governor john hick hickenlooper to fill the vacancy left by tom clemens who was assassinated in march of last year. in horrific irony, mr. clemens was assassinated by an individual who had spent several years in administrative segregation and was released directly from segregation into the community which is an absolutely recipe for disaster. the other irony involved here is that mr. clemens had dedicated his short time at the colorado department of corrections on reducing the large number of individuals in the system that were in segregation, in fact, colorado was one of the leaders, unfortunately for incarcerating
people in segregation. i was picked because i had the same vision in wisconsin was able to do some things there. this gives me an opportunity to continue that vision. and having spent some time in administrative segregation myself recently, it re-enforced my feelings about it. these are my feelings, i'll summarize it very quickly in my mind over 30 years in the criminal justice system, that administrative seg zbags is overused, misused around abused. and what i feel is that we are failing in this particular area in our mission. our mission really isn't about running more efficient institutions, although that's something that we want to do, that's something we need to do, but that's not our primary mission. 97% of all of our inmates return back to the community. and out of those 97% some of them have been in administrative segregation and our duty and our
primary mission is very simple. make a safer community. and the way we make it a safer community is by having no new victims. the way we have no must victims is by ensuring that the people we send back into the community are prepared and dedicated to being law-abiding citizens instead of returning in worse condition than they came in and that's where i feel we're failing. some of the things we've done in colorado, i was charged by the governor with three tasks, eliminate or reduce the number of major mentally ill in our administrative segregation area, and what we were able to do last spring as an example, we had 50 that were in admin seg, this january there were four. the second challenge was to eliminate or drastically reduce those released directly from segregation into the street and i might ask anybody in this audience to stand up if they feel like they would like to live next to someone that's been released directly from segregation into the street and i'm pretty sure people are going
to stay in their chairs. what we were able to do in 2012 we released 140 directly into the street. in 2014 we released two so far. and the other area i was challenged by the governor was take a look at everyone else in administrative segregation and see if you can determine the numbers of those that should be released. we've done that. that was started by the executive director and continued by me. in january of 2011, we had 1,451 in admin deg. in january of 2014, we had 597. in a sense i don't feel i'm replacing mr. clements. i feel i'm fulfilling his vision. that's what we're doing in colorado. i believe nobody should be released directly to the community and some of the things that we're doing are some that all can be doing. i don't disagree with anything mr. samuels said. i respect him.
i have known him for quite some time. working with the association of the state correctional administrators association we've done a lot of work and best practices. let me throw some things out there as i quickly end as i'm running out of time. for some reason we seem to think that for admin seg someone is in a cell 23 hours a day. who define that is? there's probably some obscure court case that mandates that's what happens? how about 20 hours a day? how about 18 hours a day or they start at 23 and work their way down to 10? that's one thing we're going to be doing. it's been automatic for the most part that someone on death row is going to stay in administrative segregation until they're put to death and as we know a person spends many years and some are found innocent and released, and we're going to be changing our policy on that and giving them the opportunity to get outside of their cells. where we're going to end up in colorado is that only the extreme violent, and that's a small handful about all that
we're talking about, are going to be those that remain in administrative segregation but even them, that doesn't mean we give up on them. it means we continue to find a solution for these problems because as i sat in that cell for over 20 hours, my response was this isn't a way to treat an american. it's not a way that the state should be treating someone. it's not a way this nation should be treating someone and internationally it's not a way to be treating someone. this is receiving the right amount of attention now at the right time and i think it's time we move this forward. thank you. >> thanks, mr. raemisch, and i might say to those gathered here, a roll call vote just started and so some of my colleagues left to vote. we'll try to keep the hearing going. miss kerman? >> chairman durbin, ranking member cruz, and distinguished members of this committee, thank you for having me here to address this important issue. i spent 13 months as a prisoner
in the federal system. if you're familiar with my book "orange is the new black," you know i was never held in an isolation unit. the longest amount of time i was placed alone in a holding cell was four hours, and i was ready to climb the walls of that small room by the end of that. i am here today to talk specifically about the impact of solitary confinement on women in american prisons, jails, and detention centers. women are the fastest growing segment of the criminal justice system and their families and communities are increasingly affected by what happens behind bars. at least 63% of women in prison are there for a nonviolent offense. however, some of the factors that contribute to these women's incarceration can also end up landing them in solitary confinement. during my first hours of incarceration, warnings about solitary or the shu came from both prisoners and staff very quickly, and very minor infractions could send you to the shu.
they can then keep you there as long as they want under whatever conditions they choose. unlike the normal hive like communities of prison, 24-hour lockdown leaves you in a 6 x 8 cell for weeks or months or even years, and this is unproductive for individuals, for prison institutions, and the outside communities to which 97% of all prisoners return. several factors make women's experience in incarceration and solitary different from men's. women in prison are much more likely than men to suffer from mental illness which makes being put into solitary confinement much more likely and much more damaging. jeanne, who like the majority of women prisoners had a history of mental illness and 75% of women in prison do, she spent the first year of her six-year sentence in solitary confinement. you have her full written statement. i will share some of her words with you. i spent three-quarters of my
time on a bunk with the blanket over my head in the fetal position rocking back and forth for comfort. i tried meditating to no avail. i can separate body from mind with my disassociative disorder. i cried a lot, not for me but for my kids. i laughed inappropriately. i got angry at myself, angry at those who abused me and led me to this life of addiction. i felt ashamed because i let others abuse my body because i felt i deserved it. i felt sorry i was born. i felt sorry for all the hurt that i caused, but most of all i felt sorry that there wasn't a rope to kill myself because every day was worse than the last. solitary is also misused as a threat to intimidate and silence women who are being sexually abused by staff which is a widespread problem in prisons, jails, and detention centers that house women. early in my sentence, a woman who had done a lot of time told me about a friend of hers who
had been sexually abused by a guard at danbury. she told me they had her in the shu for months during the sis investigation. they shot her full of psych drugs. she blew up like a balloon. when they finally let her out, she was a zombie. they do not play here. there are egregious examples of solitary confinement being used by prison officials to hide horrific systemic sexual abuse under their watch. the terrible threat of isolation makes women afraid to report abuse and serves as a powerful disincentive to ask for help or justice. and finally solitary has a devastating effect on families and children of women prisoners. for health and safety, pregnant women should never be placed in solitary, and yet this is allowed in prisons throughout the u.s. most women in prison are mothers. a child's need to see and hold his or her mother is one of the most basic human needs, yet visitation for prisoners in
solitary is extremely limited and often all visitation privileges are revoked. isolation should only be used when a prisoner is a threat to her own safety or that of others, not when pregnant or suffering meantal illness or fo reporting abuse. i urge the federal bureau of prisons in its assessment of solitary confinement practices take action to limit the use of solitary on women. they should visit as many women's institutions as possible, fcis like tallahassee and dublin and they should include confidential discussions with the women incarcerated in those facilities. last week my home state of new york announced significant solitary reforms, including prohibition of placing pregnant women in solitary and the bureau of prisons and other states should also embrace those kinds of comprehensive reforms. thank you for the opportunity to testify and to help the subcommittee address this very significant issue. i'm hopeful it will mark the next step in urgently needed long-term oversight and reform.
>> thank you, miss kerman. as i said, i have reviewed the system of all the members of this panel. it is extraordinary, and i don't want to miss it. so we're going to take a ten-minute recess and let us race over to the floor and back. so if you could just hang around for a few more minutes, we'll be back. this committee will stand in recess for ten minutes.
this hearing of the subcommittee will resume. it would have been ten minutes except the senate train broke down. we had to walk over to the capitol and get back, so mr. deroche, please proceed. >> good afternoon, mr. chairman, ranking member cruz, members of the committee. thank you for revisiting this pressing issue. changing the culture in the prisons will change the culture in our cities and our states. the disproportionate and arbitrary use of solitary confinement is not only immoral, it is a missed opportunity to break the cycle of crime. this approach does not increase public safety and is contrary to justice fellowship's goals for the criminal justice system, accountability and restoration. teaching people to become good citizens rather than just good prisoners is a charge entrusted to the correctional officers by the taxpayers. skilled wardens understand
ensuring prisoners become responsible and productive members of society at large is paramount to the safety of our communities whether inside or outside of the prison walls. part of creating safe communities inside prisons includes removing prisoners, individuals who violate societal norms by placing themselves or others at rick. skilled wardens also need to understand that the removal process needs to be temporary and what is being asked of the prisoner should be available to them and achievable. many in this room know that justice fellowships founder chuck colson saw his power and pride crumble when he left being president nixon's counsel to becoming a federal prisoner. but upon his release from prison, his work actually started touring a solitary confinement unit in walla walla prison in 1979, and that -- out of that meeting, senators, is where justice fellow ship was founded. and i'm also grateful to you,
mr. chairman and ranking member cruz, for your support as has been mentioned of co-sponsoring the smarter sentencing act, and i believe that mr. collison if he were alive today would applaud your work in that area. solitary confinement, in theory is for the worst of the worst of the prisoners. however, data says otherwise. case in point is in illinois where a study was conducted and found that 85% of the prisoners were sent to disciplinary segregation for minor rule violations. prisoners in these circumstances too often do not have their cases individually reviewed and looked at from oversight. there was an analogy given earlier about police officers when they're struck or other things, but it seems that the justice system does a much greater job on the outside of the walls of having accountability and individual review than segregation has had
historically. and when it comes to the discussion about mental illness, regretfully our family, friends, and neighbors suffering from mental illness are too often punished rather than treated. and i would like to share the story of a man named kevin, a young man i have a privilege of knowing back in michigan who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 11 years old, and at 14 was pressured by a peer group to holding up a pizzeria with a toy gun. he wound up in an adult prison and was -- spent nearly a year in segregation. who described his experience as an ongoing panic attack, and felt as though he was stuck in an elevator that he needed to escape from, and he eventually tried to commit suicide as his escape, but instead of helping kevin, the prison guards at the time simply increased his punishment because that was all that t